Skies of Europe
Alberto Mandarini, Bruno Tommaso, Carlo Actis Dato, Daniele Cavallanti, Eugenio Colombo, Giancarlo Schiaffini, Gianluigi Trovesi, Giorgio Gaslini, Guido Mazzon, Lauro Rossi, Mario Schiano, Martin Mayes, Paolo Damiani, Pino Minafra, Renato Geremia, Sebi Tramontana, Tiziano Tononi, Vincenzo Mazzone & Italian Instabile Orchestra
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For its second release, this fascinating ensemble chose to record two extended suites by band members Bruno Tommaso and Giorgio Gaslini. Tommaso's "Il Maestro Muratore" (The Master Mason), inspired by the Sardinian sculptor Constantino Nivola, begins superbly with a spirited romp based on a Sardinian folk dance and featuring high-wire soloing by trumpeter (and founder) Pino Minafra and Carlo Actis Dato on bass clarinet. The remainder of the piece meanders a bit, genre-hopping in postmodern fashion but doing so with perhaps less grace than one would wish. The suite ends with a reprise of the opening theme, and one only wishes the same verve and vigor could have been sustained throughout the composition. Gaslini's title piece is similarly wide ranging, though with a early 20th century European cosmopolitan feel befitting several of its dedicatees from art, music, and film. While the thematic material might have echoes of parlor music and cabarets, the solos are firmly in the avant-garde tradition, forming a counterpoint that is initially beguiling but grows a bit thin with repetition. Still, there are jewels within, such as the lovely miniature tribute, "Satie Satin," and the closing homage to Fellini with its luxuriant nods to Nino Rota. At this point in the Italian Instabile Orchestra's journey, the listener still has the impression that the best of this band had not yet been captured on disc, but there are enough high points herein to make it well worth a listen.